Introduction: Slats Toy Chest

When I became an uncle I decided to offer something special to my nephew. Something that he could keep for years and that he could still use even though he's growing up. Making such a gift when you have no money is tricky so I decided to build a chest made of slats I could find (for free) in the streets.

Almost everything I needed for this project was gleaned on the street (I just bought the glue, paint and varnish). The tools are pretty standard so I guess everybody could build this kind of chest.

It was the first time I had to build something like this. I had doubts about how it would look like considering the lack of experience, the lack of space and the tools I used. But I tried it anyway and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Step 1: What You'll Need


  • Bed slats
  • Planks (the thickness depends on how big you want the chest to be)


  • Plywood
  • Wooden strips
  • Hinges
  • Brackets


  • Wood glue
  • Screws


  • Saw (really bad hand saw for me)
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Clamps (pretty big ones)

Step 2: Gather and Cut the Slats

First, I drew every faces of the chest. Once the pattern choice was made, it was easy to know how many slats and what kind of pieces I would need later. This also gave me the size of the chest : 50cm x 35cm x 35cm.

As I said, a lot of stuff was found on the streets. Slats are a common item, I even had the luxury to pick the pretty ones ! Then, all I had to do was cutting the slats and organizing them in little piles.

Step 3: Make the Base

I mesured the planks and cut them. I then screwed them together to create the base of the chest on which to glue the slats later.

**Assemble the planks the way you want but make sure the surface is even so the slats will be leveled.**

Step 4: Add the Slats to the Base

Once the base was done, I applied glue on one face then positioned the slats of one pile (according to my drawing, remmember "Step 1"?).

When I was certain the pattern was good I placed a plank on top of it and clamped it firmly. This way the pressure was the same for all the pieces of wood.

Time to dry !

**I usually let it dry overnight to make sure everything is secured.**

And the next day I had to repeated the process until all the faces were completed.

Step 5: Build the Top Cover

For the cover, I made a frame with wooden slips on which I screwed a plywood plank. I used brackets on each corner but screws or even nails may be enough.

Then I placed and glued the uncut slats on the plywood plank and let it dry overnight.

When the ensemble was strong enough, I was able to cut the excess on each side.

Step 6: Finish, Paint and Varnish

I've been using different kind of woods and planks and wanted to harmonize the look so I applied some wood filler on the inside of the chest. I did the same for the inside of the cover and also add white paint on the sides.

Then I applied several coats of varnish to enhance the wood veins.

Step 7:

The last step was to screw the hinges, and I was finally done !

Filling the chest with all the toys laying around and now you can see your carpet again! Nice!

Furniture Contest 2018

Runner Up in the
Furniture Contest 2018